Friday, October 29, 2010

San Francisco-Day 2...After Alcatraz

Sorry for the lapse. We staged a model home this week that had to be done today before noon. That means lots of shopping. Lots of shopping. $20,000 worth of furniture and decorations that then have to be assembled, hung, ironed, placed, and displayed. It is the perfect job for me so I don't mind! But being a mom, wife, cook, and housekeeper at the same time, wore me slick out.

So where were we?? Oh yes, I was in San Francisco and I took a lot of pictures.

So really, besides the state change, there wasn't much of a difference.

After we got off the boat we made that walk back to Pier 39 (because we know now that it's pretty stinking close) to go to lunch. Pier 39 is the tourist pier. They want you to be impressed. Thus, the foliage.

But you know what else it's known for??

Yep, the seals. The cute, entertaining, stinky seals. We joined the crowds and took several pictures. By then our blood sugars were bottoming out and we headed to Hard Rock.I'd never been to one. Can I just's not much. First, they didn't have Diet Dr Pepper. Or Diet Coke. Seriously? I really thought a restaurant as big as them would have the more popular choices. Nope. And B, $15 for a hamburger and fries?? My 'dead', 'well done', 'black' $15 burger that bled real blood when I cut into it. And third, our waitress went on her break halfway through her service to us and we had someone new for the rest of the meal. I, in 29 years of eating out, have never had that happen. Never. But get ready for this. The table next to us had a waiter and we heard him say that he was going on a break and he introduced the new person. Guess who it was?? Our waitress! Our 'on a break' waitress was now serving the table next to us. I was so stinking confused. Confused enough that with my bleeding 'done' burger and the parade of servers, I decided not to tip. Who would I give it to anyway?

Soon we were full, me mainly of fries, and met up with two other Angels who'd talked to a local and had a map and a plan. MaryJean and Karreen and I didn't have a map or a plan. The man they'd sat by at lunch said tourists had to go to Ghiradelli Square. So off we went. Yep, not impressed again. Just different shops.

But we had fun along the way.

Did you know afros are back?? Only at the Fisherman's Wharf Gap though. This needs no explanation. Well, it needs a lot. But you're not getting any. Heather and Stephanie found 'Heather' and 'Stephy' name painting. Ummm.... And a cable car! Trolley car?? Which is correct? We heard both equally. These two sit on a street I guess for picture purposes. We waited quite a while to find someone we trusted with my camera to take the picture. We ended up picking a guy who was with his mom. They ended up being Danish tourists with a tiny bit of English they struggled to get out. The guy though was the most agreeable person I've ever met. He was so determined that we be happy with his picture taking abilities. To the point of hysterics. As we finally left them I said he was cute and I'd love to keep him just because he was so agreeable! Although I didn't love Ghiradelli Square, I did love the view of this pier. Soon we were worn out and looking to hop a cable/trolley so we could get back to the hotel and have the ride experience. We walked to the nearest stop, straight up I might add, and got in a really big line. The driver pulled up and said he only had room for 4 people. We were about 20 back. We watched it leave and decided to try another stop. Again, straight up. After about 10 minutes no historic ride selections had come by. We decided to hail a cab. That should have been easier. I mean come on, we were 5 beautiful women standing on corners. Finally we hailed a mini van cab and we were on our way. The driver gave us a little tour and history on our way. He was wonderful!

But my favorite part? He took us here.

Lombard Street! We didn't go down it, but we still got to see it. At almost every turn I was shocked at the hills. I asked the driver if anyone in town owned a manual transmission. Can you imagine?? I then made the comment that there weren't many SUV's. Apparently top heavy cars don't do well there. I can't imagine parking my Expedition on this hill. And the Corvair?? It would never survive there! With the engine in the back it would never make it up the hills.

And remember??? We're going to be running on those hills soon! We safely made it back to the hotel and started getting ready for the Pasta Party. LLS/TNT holds a dinner for everyone. Everyone that was participating in the race. Plus hundreds of spouses and family members. The space was massive. I wish they'd told us how many were there.

The biggest part of the evening was the entrance. We walked into what sounded like a mob. Yelling, screaming, clapping, noise makers, air horns. But what it really is is the entire staff of this amazing organization dressed up cheering for us. Us. All we did was raise the money. They work every day of their lives for these amazing organizations. But they make us feel like celebrities.

The most amazing part though??

This. I'm a survivor because of you. Does it get any better?? I cried from the moment I saw him until he was just a picture on my camera. That made it all worth while. And it already had been. During the dinner time pictures of Honored Heroes show on the walls. Those who are battling, have won, or have lost. Each state has several and we saw ours go by. One of our honored heroes was a few tables over. I'll tell you more about Ruth in a later post. Well, just a little now. The Oklahoma team met back at the hotel after some serious carb loading for pictures and race morning instructions. And then Ruth opened her bag. You see, not only is she a leukemia survivor and a wonderful fundraiser, she's an award winning baker, cake decorator, and sugar artist. This was our treat. The Angels got together for a quick picture and a 'Go Team!' before we all headed for our beds to get ready for an early start to race day. I laid everything out, set my alarm for 4:23, took my sleeping pill, put in my ear plugs, and was out.

What a wonderful day it had been! But that blasted boot wears you slick out. Well, that and every where I needed to be being straight up.

Maybe the race would be all downhill. A girl can dream, right?

Monday, October 25, 2010

San Francisco-Day 2-Alcatraz

I have a confession to make.

I didn't take 500 pictures like I said earlier.

I took 829.

Is anyone surprised??

And while we're sharing. I have another confession to make.

I didn't want to go to Alcatraz.

A prison tour?? But my sweet friend Karreen who had been so faithful to me during 5 months of training wanted to go.

And one more confession, I am so glad I went!! I can't imagine missing it. If you're ever in San Francisco, you must go. It was less than $40 and worth every penny.

We hailed a cab, that was fun, and were on our way. After the walking from the day before I was so thankful to be in a cab! The hotel concierge had told us the boat left from Pier 39 so we headed that way. This city is so beautiful and as we came to the top of this hill there it was. Amazing that a prison was this close to a town! And hello hill! You look at hills differently when you know the next day you're running a half marathon.Holy hill! And the yellow sign above the stop sign? It says HILL. Really?? I wouldn't have noticed otherwise. We were a bit late so the cab driver dropped us off and we nearest person who could tell us why we couldn't find anyone. That was because Alcatraz tours leave from Pier 33! Thanks for nothing Parc 55 concierge. The sweeper guy said Pier 33 was a 10 minute walk. He pointed us in the right direction and we took off. The whole time we were looking for another cab. We didn't have 10 minutes. Near Pier 36 we found a cab headed the wrong way but he stopped for us and we hopped in. We told him where we were going and he looked at us. He said it was 400 feet behind us. We thanked him and got right back out. There aren't necessarily every number of piers. 33 was next to 36. Yep, we're observant.

Soon enough we were on the boat and headed out. But wait! Look behind us. What a gorgeous city. And hilly. did I mention the hills? It was a tad bit windy.

Just a tad. Too soon, I love being on the water, we were there. I'd heard about the plant and flower species and I wasn't disappointed. This one looked like Hens and Chickens but on a stem. It intrigued me.
The tour is an audio tour so as you're walking along a narrator is telling you things. I didn't notice for a while that there were background noises coming through the headphones. I thought it was the people around me. But when I was taking this picture and a man said, "Hey", in my headphones, I freaked out. I whipped around and there was no one there. That's when I realized all those noises were included on the tour.

Looks cozy, doesn't it? I had no idea cells were this small. And if you wanted any privacy in the shower??? You were plumb out of luck. Each aisle had three stories of cells. There was such an eeriness about the place. Kind of creeped me out the whole time.I don't know what these trees are, but I want them. Don't they look all Dr. Suess?? Even though it was a cold and blustery day that didn't stop the sail boaters from being out. Hundreds of them! I kept hoping the fog would lift so we could get a good shot of the Golden Gate Bridge. This is the view from the cafeteria. I can't imagine being locked in that creepy place and seeing this and not being able to get to it. What torture.

As I was leaving the prison area and heading back down the hill I saw this.Doesn't that worry you?? I know it's not a prison anymore, but weird. I realized later that he must have been one of the Hamlet players that were putting on a show later that evening. We'd seen orchestra members on the tour. But why was his face covered like that? Strange.

Even though the island was a prison we found out during a video that families lived there. They had two bowling alleys, a grocery store, and playgrounds. They children would ride a ferry to and from school in town every day. One lady spoke about her very happy childhood spent there. I looked at it differently after that. It really was a beautiful place. The buildings were worn but still had a beauty to them. This building was my favorite. I wish I'd had the girls with me to set them in this opening for pictures. And again, beautiful flowers. At a prison! As we boarded the boat it seemed like the number of sailboats had doubled. I was still waiting for the fog to life. But since it was San Francisco, I guess it was okay. Kind of comes with the territory, doesn't it? Again, the hills. My word! Luckily the buildings are a nice distraction.I think since my Dad is a graduate of the Coast Guard Academy and his dad was a Navy Seabee the water is in my blood. My grandparents took me to a lake almost every summer weekend when I was growing up. I love to be on the water. I tell Shawn all the time that I want to be 'boat people'. But since we're 'pool owner people', we don't have time for a boat.

Maybe someday I'll get to be on the water. In a boat like this if possible:c) That was the first part of our day and look how many pictures I took! That's why I've broken day 2 into at least 2 parts. I don't want to overwhelm you all.

I know, I'm always thinking of you all:c)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

San Francisco-Day 1

I'm back in business!! My amazing husband hooked my laptop up to a separate flat screen so I can use my laptop!

So away we go!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I hate to fly. When the flight is at 6:10 in the a of m, I hate it even more. My alarm went off at 3:55 and I started getting ready. We picked up two other Angels are Shawn dropped us off at 4:55. There weren't any Southwest workers at the desk when we got there! There was quite a line also. We just got in line and waited until they decided to open. Glad we didn't get there two hours early like you're supposed to! As I was going through security I started putting my stuff in the tubs. My purse in one with my baggie of liquids, my laptop in another, my carry on in a third, my shoe and boot in a fourth. Good grief. As I started through the metal detector the person behind me pointed out my cell phone in my back pocket. I tossed it in with my purse and walked through. The alarm went off. The lady pointed to my Tiffany bracelet and I removed it and put it in a separate bowl. As I walked through again the alarm went off.

Then she saw my foot.

Under my boot I have to wear a support sock. Basically an Ace wrap that's like a tube that I put on in a double thickness. She asked what that was. When I told her I had a broken foot and that's what I wore under my boot she asked where the boot was. Well hello, it was going through the x-ray machine. She told me I had to be pat down and sent me to Thelma. Thelma came over and whispered in my ear. "It's your earrings. She's just not doing her job right. But if I say that to her I'll get slapped."

I like Thelma. It's a good thing because in the next 5 minutes she felt just about every part of me. I looked at it as a free massage. After all of that she noticed my foot. Good grief. I explained to her what it was and she told me she had to do a chemical test on it. On a support sock. Really? She got out something that looked like gauze, poured some kind of liquid on it, and rubbed it all over the sock. What in the world do they think could be on there? Anybody know? By then I was just ready to get out of there and didn't stick around to ask questions.

Finally I was able to join my friends and board the plane.

Even though I hate to fly, I have to admit, this was beautiful.

These two sweet ladies were my roommates. Karreen, in the center, started running for the first time in February and remained faithful to me through all my injuries. If I was able to run she was standing on the corner waiting. I thank God for her all the time. I have no drive at all and knowing she was there kept me going. It devastated me to get injured this last time and not be able to train with her. You'll hear more about how amazing she is when I tell you about race day. MaryJean on the end has been a good friend for many years. She has a sense of humor that will crack anyone up. Meet her and 5 minutes later you're in love with her. She was a blast to travel with.Do you see the big earrings I'm sporting?? They're cute, but they cause problems!

When we got to our hotel it was located on a one way street. With the door side of the bus being in traffic. Basically we shut down the street getting off and getting our luggage. I've always wanted to stop traffic:c)At this point most of us hadn't eaten and it was close to noon. Since we'd been up since before 4 this was a problem. Most of the hotel rooms weren't cleaned and ready yet so we consolidated luggage where we could and headed across the street to a mall for lunch. MaryJean had forgotten her sunglasses so we made a quick stop in Forever 21 so she could get some. It was located in a historic building near Union Square. Look at that ceiling!! I don't think I looked at any of the clothes. As I was walking in the alarms by the door went off. I saw two workers standing nearby and went over to explain that the same thing had happened to me at the airport that morning and I had been told it was probably my earrings. I then explained that when I left I wanted to make sure someone knew that I wasn't stealing anything. The girl of the two assured me it would be okay. As I was getting ready to leave I went over and found her to let her know the alarms were about to go off. She again told me not to worry, she knew I hadn't stolen anything. Several employees were standing around at this point and I wanted to make sure everyone knew. So as I walked out the door with about 5 people watching my every move, the alarms didn't make a sound. How does that make sense??After my $14.15 Fettuccine, Garlic Bread, and Diet Dr Pepper (hello California pricing) we headed to the expo tent to pick up our race packets.After getting our bibs and the cute pink backpack they came in we walked over to this. I'd never seen it. You picked your pace and got the bracelet that corresponded with it. That way on race morning you knew what color corral to go to. Sadly because of the broken foot I had to pick a much higher time than I would have like to. Karreen picked the same one:)We left the expo area and headed across the street to Niketown. This was on their roof. Isn't that amazing? $105 million. Many of you my faithful readers were a part of this years fundraising. I can't thank you enough.One of the many neat things about the Nike race is that all the entrants names are written on the wall outside Niketown. It's a big deal to go find your name. I assumed that the names would be in columns up and down and that I'd find mine right away. Oh no! The names are written one right after the other from left to right starting about 10 feet off the ground and stretching about 20 feet. It took us way too long to figure that out. Then it took FOREVER to find our names! Karreen's last name starts with an M so she was near the bottom. MaryJean and I have early in the alphabet names and ours were so high up there's no way we could get anywhere near them. I had to put on my telephoto lens to get a good shot!

Trust me, it's up there!TNT had posters for people to make and I loved when I found a guy making this one for his wife. I asked him if I could take a picture of it. Sadly I didn't get it before he started the Canadian flag. Oh well:)As if walking through 3 airports and all over downtown wasn't enough, we walked about half a mile to go to dinner as a group. Almost 30 of us. I of course couldn't have what was served because of all my food allergies so as Prime Rib, Duck Con fee, Roast Chicken, 6 different pizzas, salad, and lots of veggies passed me by I dined on my $6 roasted broccoli.

Tracy thanked each and everyone of us for the money we'd raised so that more families didn't have to lose someone like they had. She is such an amazing person. I count myself blessed to do the small part that I did. Isn't she beautiful? It's inside and out.After walking back to our hotel (up, all the way I might add) we all collapsed into bed. What a wonderful day the first one had been. I couldn't wait to start the next.